When all the opportunities of reconciliation seem exhausted, divorce may be the only option left. Although divorce sounds like the best decision for a couple who can no longer live together, it can be detrimental to children.
No matter how you try to save your children from the pain and burden of separation, it is ultimately going to fall upon them when the court decides the custody of your child. Here are the factors that the court might look into when deciding where the “best interests of the child” lie, whether with you or your ex.
- In case of younger children, the court understands that they will be majorly affected if uprooted from the neighborhood they grew up in. Therefore, the court tries to make arrangements for younger children to live within the same house with both or one of the parents.
The court might later allow alternate arrangements after the child is of a certain age.
- The parents’ wishes are also heard by the court. Even though they are not given a lot of gravitas by the court, the judge certainly considers the plea of the parents.
- Apart from parents’ wishes, which also be fraudulent, the court will hear statements from the children too. Then, it considers the quality of relationship the children share with each of their parents, individually.
- The physical and mental health of the parents, as well as the children, play a crucial role too. If one of the parents has a chronic disease which renders her or him unable to work, they may only be given visitation rights by the court.
- Before granting physical custody of the child, the court also considers whether the primary custodial parent is willing to share custody with the other partner or not. This is because the court does not want to deprive the other parent of attachment to their own child.
So, if the custody won’t harm the visiting rights of another parent, it is often given to one of them.
- Even if one of the parents is providing the majority of the care for the children, the court is more concerned with maintaining a consistent life for the children. Therefore, if one of the spouses tends to travel a lot, the other spouse is more likely to receive the physical custody of the kid. Other than that, the traveling parent will still likely have shared legal custody and visitation rights.
- The court asks both the parents to submit a child custody evaluation form before making the decision. This is done to determine which parent of the two will provide a more loving and secure environment for the children.
- The parent who is able to provide better living accommodations, a separate room for the children, and a safe neighborhood is also given preference.
- The opinions of character witnesses as well as the ability of the parent to provide for the health and wellness needs of the children are also considered.
- If the children are adolescent, their wishes to live with a parent are also considered.
These factors are considered by the courts in a general sense. However, the court’s criteria in extreme cases might differ.